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God's way, and follows the multitude to do evil, their feet will flide. But the best preparation and fecurity for a time of general calamity, is to walk with God in a declining time.-We fhall only add, 2. An ufe of exhortation.


We exhort you, then, to follow the Lord fully Our time is a declining time. There is a declining from the purity of gofpel-doctrine and gofpel-ordinances. There is a horrid declining in practice; the vail is falling off many faces, and the mask of religion. There is a general declining from holiness, and the power of godlinefs, on the spirits of profeffors in our day. It is a day of approaching calamity. Would you be fafe? Return now, and fet your face against the stream; and the more you fee others going off from God, cleave the more to him. If you do fo, you will be diftinguished by special marks of favour in a day of public calamity; but if you alfo go away, your fin will afterwards find you out.

Remember, now you have heard your duty; it is the duty of communicants, and alfo of others. Remember that it is not enough to fet fair off. It is only he that follows fully who will be brought fafely to the promised land. It is only he that endureth to the end who will be faved. Be not, therefore, "weary in this well-doing, for in due time ye fhall reap, if ye faint not."





Rom. ii. 28. 29. For he is not a few which is one outwardly, neither is that circumcifion which is outward in the flesh. But he is a few, which is one inwardly, and circumcifion is that of the heart, in the fpirit, and not in the letter, whofe praife is not of men, but of God.


HESE words are a reafon why no man ought to value himself on the externals of religion, for they will go but short way. However they please men, they will never please God. The scope of them is, to thew who are the people of God. The Jews of old were the people of God; the Chriftians are so now, being come in their room. The apostle here diftinguishes the people of God into nominal and real ones, calling them Jews, because he was speaking to Jews; the cafe is the fame as to Chriftians.-In these words, he fhews two things.

* Delivered in March and April, 1719.

1. Who

1. Who are not true Jews, real Chriftians, or faints indeed, ver. 28.; for these are they whom he means by Jews, faying, "He is not a Jew." Not those who are Jews outwardly, Chriftians and faints by profeffion, that is, who are only fo, and no more; for God requires externals of religion as well as internals, though the former, feparate from the latter, avail nothing. But those who have no more religion than what is outward, viz. what men fee or may fee, they have nothing of the reality of it.

The Jews valued themselves on circumcifion, as Christians on baptism; but true circumcifion is not what is outward in the flesh, nor baptifm what is by water; that is, only fo. These external rites fignify an inward grace, without which they fignify nothing before God. Circumcifion was in a hidden part of the body, yet it was on the body, and what might be feen; fo religion might be in faints; yet being only what may be feen, will not conftitute a perfon truly religious.--He fhews,

2. Who are true Jews, real Chriftians, or faints indeed? There are two characters of these, which distinguished them from the other. They are,

(1.) Those who are fo inwardly, or in the hidden part, which is open to God alone, as well as in the outward part, which appears to the world. These who have the hidden part of religion, which being hid from the world's view, they cannot certainly judge of. Those who have the true circumcifion, the fpiritual baptifm, that is, the circumcifion of the heart, Deut. x. 16. by which corrupt lufts are cut off, and the body of fin put off, Col. ii. 11. This is the fpiritual, not fleshly circumcifion only. It touches on, reforms, and renews our fpirit, our foul, the hidden, but most valuable part of a man. The carnal is but the cutting off a



bit of the flesh of the body, which might be done while the fpirit remained overgrown with unmortified lufts, and the foul quite defiled. The fpirit is here opposed to the letter, which laft cannot be well understood of the body, but of circumcifion, and therefore the spirit alfo; q. d. and circumcifion of the heart, which is circumeifion in the fpirit or grace of it, (not in the letter, or external rite of circumcifion), is the true circumcifion. So they have the fpirituality of it, which is as the foul thereof, as well as the letter, which is as the body thereof. The spirit of circumcifion is the invifible grace fignified by it, and joined with it, when it is effectual; the letter of it is the fenfible fign or external rite.

men's or not.

(2.) They are fuch as have God's approbation, commendation, and praise, whether they have There is an allufion here to the word Judah, from whom that people, now called Jews, had their name; it fignifies praised, Gen. xlviii. 8. These are the true Judahs, whom not only their brethren, but their Father, even God, praises. Outward religion may gain praise of men, who cannot difcern what is within; but the true Jew, the real Chriftian, is one approved even by the heart-fearching God, according to the reality, and not the appearance.- -From this fubject I

take this

DOCTRINE, That he is not a true Chriftian, who only in the outward part, and in the letter of religion, approves himself to men; but he who, by the inner part of religion, and the fpirituality thereof, alfo approves himself to the heartfearching God.

In illuftrating this important truth, I fhall, I. Speak to this point generally.

II. Confider it more particularly.--I fhall,

I. SPEAK to this point more generally.--Here I propose,

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I. To fhew that there is fuch a difference in the vifible church, that there are fome who are only Christians outwardly, and that there are others who are also Chriftians inwardly.

II. To inquire what are the caufes of this difference?

III. To point out what is the outside and letter of religion, which only makes an outfide Chriftian, and what the infide and spirit of religion is which makes a genuine Christian.

IV. To confirm the doctrine.-I am,

I. To fhew that there is fuch a difference in the vifible church, that there are fome who are only Christians outwardly, and that there are others who are alfo Chriftians inwardly.

This difference appears many ways. It appears,

1. In the very different characters given those who profefs the fame faith and true religion. The preachers of the gospel are fishers of men, but they are not all good that come by profeffion into the net, Matth. xiii. 47. 48. The tares and the wheat grow together in the field of the church, the goats and the theep go together all the day, till the great Shepherd feparate them. And as to virgin-profeffors, fome are wife, and have oil in their veffels, with their lamps; others are foolish, Matth. xxv. who mock God with fair promifes, befool even the godly, who looked well upon them, and, worst of all, befool themselves in the latter end, when the Bridegroom cometh.-This appears,

2. In the very different effects religion has on VOL. II.



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